Christmas Gifts Banned At Catholic Hospital
December 22, 2006, 03:29 PM
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Howard Sutherland writes
Those of us who are Papists hoping for a traditional revival within the Church of Rome get reminders more often than we would like of how far Catholicism has fallen. Here is yet another: Christmas war erupts in unlikely place A group froma Catholic school went to a Florida hospital to give patients Christmas presents. The hospital forbade anything that actually says “Merry Christmas” or is “Jesus-themed.” Unfortunately, no longer surprising in degraded Post-America. Except that the hospital in question is St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, [email them]founded and apparently run by Franciscan nuns! Here is the lame excuse from the hospital’s “vice president of missions”:

"Yes, we were founded by Catholic sisters, but we serve everybody in our community," said Sister Pat Shirley, a Franciscan sister and the hospital's vice president of missions. "We have to create an environment in which all feel comfortable whether it be Christmas or Hanukkah or Gasparilla or any circumstance."

What is Sr. Shirley a missionary for, exactly? And what on Earth is “Gasparilla”? Anything to do with sarsaparilla?

God Help Us All… And Merry Christmas!

I'd never heard of Gasparilla either; it turns out it's a local Mardi Gras-like "Pirate Festival" which has been going on in Tampa since 1904. It's ridiculous to compare it to Christmas, especially since it involves some of the same "Girls Gone Wild" activity that Mardi Gras does.

It's also strange that they should have to ask for parental consent to Christmas presents when you consider that hospitals ask your religion when you check in. It's on your chart, specifically so they know what kind of pastoral care you need.

In the meantime, John Zmirak forwarded this story, pointing out that some Catholics are noticing the War On Christmas—in Rome.

Wary of the War on Christmas

L'Osservatore Romano Weighs In on a Trend

In an article last Sunday in L'Osservatore Romano, journalist Mario Gabriele Giordano noted the widespread attacks on the Christian holiday. It noted that some retail stores no longer sell Nativity figurines.

"A misunderstood sense of modernity has trampled on sentiments and values," the article stated. It observed that "the old and loved wishes for a 'Merry Christmas' … are being dissolved into a generic 'Happy Holidays.'"

England in particular is witnessing a veritable "war on Christmas," the article said, citing a report in the British newspaper Sun. "It is a war that tends to do away with all Christmas traditions, not only through hypocritical reasons of contingent opportunity but also through formal and rigid prohibitions."

The L'Osservatore Romano article expressed perplexity over the disappearance of religious Christmas stamps issued by post offices. Such stamps now depict snowmen and reindeer, for instance. Gone are the magi and the star over Bethlehem.

Some people say this "war" is justified because of "the need not to offend the sensitivity of believers or followers of other religions, as if nonbelievers and followers of other religions appeared suddenly only this Christmas," noted L'Osservatore Romano.

Absurdity

The newspaper quoted Britain's Daily Express paper which stressed "the absurdity of wanting to do away with our most cherished traditions because of unfounded and irrational fears."

For its part, the Italian bishops' newspaper, Avvenire, in an article Dec. 17 by Carlo Cardia, entitled "An Impossible Eclipse: In the Symbols of Christmas Is the Universe," stated that such symbols "have spanned the centuries."

"When they appear every year in so many parts of the world, including non-Christian areas, a message is spread, addressed to families, to mothers and fathers, to boys and girls," the article stated. "And this message speaks of hope, hope for the future and the reality of goodness, of confidence in oneself and in others."